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Festive weekend in the Charles Town area

Two heritage festivals expected to draw thousands to Jefferson County

Two heritage festivals expected to draw thousands to Jefferson County

September 21, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Visitors to Jefferson County this weekend will get two heaping helpings of mountain pride, said officials from the City of Charles Town and from Jefferson County's tourism office.

Two heritage festivals are scheduled this weekend. The first Charles Town Heritage Festival kicks off today and ends Sunday, Sept. 24. Nearby at Sam Michaels Park, the 31st annual fall Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival will be held Friday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 24.

For the first time, the fall Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival will offer wine tasting and sales. The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event, decided to tout wine tasting after a slump in attendance, said Mary Via, the chamber's executive director.

Attendance at the spring Mountain Heritage festival, which also featured wine tasting, grew by about 4,600 for a total of about 24,600, Via said. The boost in numbers is good news for the more than 200 craft and food vendors expected at this year's festival.


Shirley Snyder, 52, of Hagerstown, makes baskets from hand and said she hopes to build her customer base at the craft fair this year.

"One day, I want to open up my own business," said Snyder, who teaches basketry and shows her work at galleries in Virginia and West Virginia.

Marvin Bower, co-owner of Tanners Creek Leather, says he hopes to catch the eyes of female festival-goers with his homemade handbags.

"Ladies are your best customers," said Bower, 52, of Boonsboro. "They have a thing for handbags and shoes. They always bring a lot of money."

Charles Town Mayor Peggy A. Smith said there had been history-themed events in Charles Town in the past, but she said the Charles Town Heritage Festival was the city's largest and most ambitious effort to date.

"This town has lots of history," Smith said. "There are people who have never heard of Charles Town. They've heard of Harpers Ferry, but they've never heard of Charles Town."

Historical re-enactments from the Civil War and Revolutionary War eras are the main focus of the schedule for the Charles Town Heritage Festival. Individual re-enactors are focusing on Harriet Tubman, Ulysses S. Grant and George Washington. Friday's Taste of West Virginia Soiree, a $100-per-ticket event, has sold out, Smith said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Mountain Heritage Arts& Crafts Festival

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 24

WHERE: Sam Michaels Park, Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., off W.Va. 342, between Harpers Ferry and Charles Town

ADMISSION: $6 for adults; $3 for children 6 to 17

MORE: For more information, call 304-725-2055 or go to

Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival entertainment schedule

Craft vendors on site from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Ongoing activities include children's clowns from noon to 4 p.m. Bluegrass artists will play 45-minute sets Saturday and Sunday.

The music schedule includes:


· Jay Smar - 12:45 and 2:45 p.m.

· Colin Dunbar & Sleepy Creek -1:45 and 3:45 p.m.

· Capital Squares - 4:45 to 5:30 p.m.


· The Goins Brothers - 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.

· Dan Paisely & Southern Grass -12:45 and 3:45 p.m.

· The Seldom Scene - 1:45 and 4:45 p.m.


· Dan Paisely & Southern Grass -11:45 a.m. and 2:45p.m.

· The Goins Brothers - 12:45 and 3:45 p.m.

· The Seldom Scene - 1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.

If you go ...

WHAT: Charles Town Heritage Festival

WHEN: Today through Sunday, Sept. 24

WHERE: Downtown Charles Town, W.Va. Parking is free at Happy Retreat and at the Jefferson County Board of Education. Free shuttle provided from both parking areas.

COST: Free admission; activity fees

MORE: For more information, call the Charles Town Visitors Center at 304-535-1813.

Charles Town Heritage Festival schedule highlights


· 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Charles Town Visitors Center extended hours.

· 1:30 p.m. - Potter's Field Cemetery dedication. Seminary Street, south of Washington Street.

· 7 to 11 p.m. - Taste of West Virginia Soiree, food and live auction. Fundraiser for Friends of Happy Retreat. Happy Retreat. Tickets have sold out.

· 7:30 p.m. - "The Anvil" at the Jefferson County Court House. Two-act play based on the trial of John Brown. Shows continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, $12, are available at Old Opera House. Call 304-725-4420.

Saturday and Sunday

Ongoing activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Happy Retreat activities include: period games for children, period craft demonstrations, Burr Farm living history presentation and demonstrations by the Southern Band of Cherokee Indians' White Thunder Drum. There also will be an open house at Tatte Fairfax-Muse House, 201 E. Washington St.; and 30 craft and business vendors on the 100 block of George Street.

Other activities include:

· 8 to 9:30 a.m. - Pancakes with George Washington re-enactor. Pancakes from a 18th-century recipe available. Saturday only. Tent in Bank of Charles Town parking lot. Costs $2 to $5.

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